Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Top 10 Strangest Gadgets of the Future 174

Anonymous Cow writes "This week, the editors of TechEBlog have compiled a list of the 'Top 10 Strangest Gadgets of the Future,' from solar powered LEDs to memory LCD screens, it's all there." Urinal gaming stations! How did no one implement this sooner?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Top 10 Strangest Gadgets of the Future

Comments Filter:
  • screen ... that retains the image even when turned off.

    ... back to the future ...

    • My Orange SPV Mobile phone did that - never did read up on what the technology was...

      See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGuBx6Xj-PE [youtube.com]
    • screen ... that retains the image even when turned off.

      http://www.fujitsu.com/global/news/pr/archives/mon th/2005/20050713-01.html [fujitsu.com] And Im not even counting eink which wouldn't be considered a convential LCD display.
      • Neither are the shoes that light up when you step down - they've had them in Wallyworld for $14.99 for a couple of years

        And half the stuff isn't even at the prototype stage, like the origami screen - its just a "wouldn't this be neet".

        ... and they admit the single-slice bread toaster doesn't work - not that anyone ever makes a single slice ... I'd expect a 6-slice toaster at LEAST! I mean, if we have razors that come with 6 blades, why can't we have 6-slice toasters?

        • I'd be happy with a toaster that didn't leave the top of the slice completely untoasted.
    • I had one, too.

      I think it was called a 'picture'. ;)

    • by Bloke down the pub ( 861787 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:05AM (#15415895)
      screen ... that retains the image even when turned off
      According to TFA, practical applications might include watches. I'm not a horologist, nor do I play one on TV, but to me a watch that tells me what time it used to be is right up there with chocolate teapots & concrete parachutes in the practicality stakes.
      • Hey, at least it would be right twice a day ...

        ... and there's at least one person I'd recommend for a concrete parachute in lieu of cement shoes :-)

        Chocolate teapots ... little old ladies will buy ANYTHING mail-order, if you say "... and this week, we'll throw in a subscription to Chocolate Teapot Lovers Magazine as a special bonus".

        I have a friend who bought a chocolate Monopoly game. We've eaten most of the hotels and houses.

      • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @02:18PM (#15416658) Homepage Journal
        Uh, with ANY watch the displays what the time "used to be as opposed to what it actually is.

        Do you really need a watch that displays the time down to the nanosecond? I didn't think so. The display would change every second, and the display would not require power between updates. Let's take the worst case you're probably about to bring up: chronograph. The stopwatch feature of most watches resolves to the nearest hundredth of a second. This still isn't a problem; see, your LCD watch probably has a 15ms-20ms response time, so you really don't get an accurate reading until you stop the count, and honestly, you can't even read beyond the tenth of the second while the display is updating because a) the LCD for the hundredths place is really just a blur due to response time and b) persistance of vision. A watch would be an ideal application for e-ink or static display technologies. heck, It would be great for my watch because I keep only the date displayed on the LCD (it's a combination analog/digital flight computer) and turn the rest off because I like the blacked-out look (it's less geeky/more dressy, as far as chunky watches go anyhow).

        It's no worse than a quartz watch with a sweep hand; the hands don't update all the time; every few seconds for the minute hand (if it steps several times between each minute) or once a minute (if it steps a full minute), and once a second for the second hand (disregard Rolex's sweep second hand here; we're talking quartz watches, not mechanical). Every second the watch displays what the time WAS. Even if the watch could display down to the nanosecond, it would still be displaying a snapshot of the time a nanosecond (or so) prior. Even if you had an atomic clock with the highest possible resolution, it would be reporting what the time was not what it is. Welcome to the confines of four dimensions!

        BTW why the hell am I responding to a troll?
        • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @05:10PM (#15417425) Journal
          "Do you really need a watch that displays the time down to the nanosecond?"

          You must be new here.

          Of course, I need a watch that displays time to the nanosecond and wirelessly updates itself via the NIST Atomic Clock. It should also be able to play music and operate as a cell-phone/video phone.

          Turn in your geek license at the door on the way out... :^)
        • We already have "memory LCDs" of a sort that are quite ubiquitous -- non-illuminated displays, which just use reflected light and panels that are light on one side and dark on the other. Once flipped into position, they just stay there and consume no power. Some, like the signs for today's price of milk at the local grocery, or the latest "Mega Millions" prize pool, are operated manually. LCDs are also non-illuminative (though they are transmissive rather than reflective, which is more versatile) so the typ
      • According to TFA, practical applications might include watches. I'm not a horologist, nor do I play one on TV, but to me a watch that tells me what time it used to be is right up there with chocolate teapots & concrete parachutes in the practicality stakes.

        I might be wrong but I think the idea is power savings. The watch runs internally but only has to display the time (update) once a minute (if only hours/minutes) or once a second (if a "normal" watch).

        Another application in a normal digital watch w

        • There are potentially thousands (millions?) of applications for this.

          Yup. There are many uses (think of public displays that change less than once per hour), but the thin the greatparent argued against were watches - those just don't profit from this that much. Usualy it's better to have the watch display nothing at all than to have it display a wrong time.
    • by Mikkeles ( 698461 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:44AM (#15416034)
      An etch-a-sketch? [etch-a-sketch.com]

      I wonder if it has to be turned over and shaken to clear the screen?

  • by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:34AM (#15415598) Homepage
    from solar powered LEDs to memory LCD screens, it's all there.

    What a spectrum, it's a veritable A to B of things, it boggles the mind. Like the Simpsons quote: "... and these manned orbits will answer questions that have limitless application, from watch making to watch repair."

  • by celardore ( 844933 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:35AM (#15415601)
    I want one right now! That thing looks awesome, and dangerous =)

    The self cooling beer can seems just plain wasteful. I'd rather they filled the space that the cooling mech uses with more beer. And I don't get the urinal thing at all, probably be quite fun after a few cans of nice cool beer though.
    • well, you won't be able to ride it arund here without a license - at 80cc, its over the 49cc limit for unlicensed vehicles and unlicensed drivers.

      ... and since it has to be licensed, it needs to be insured. Who's gonna offer coverage for that?

      This is just a rehash of the guy who put a chainsaw motor on his skateboard ...

    • by doti ( 966971 )
      Like this one [klokicker.de]?.
    • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirs[ ]d.org ['tea' in gap]> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:28AM (#15415765) Homepage
      Watch the video again, and look closely. That board is going *very* slow, slower than any skateboarder I have ever seen. When presneted with evena small ram it just looks like it falls off the other side, it doesn't jump at all.

      No speed == no air. No boarder is going to want these things unless they either seriously beef up th ehorsepower somehow, or allow manual foot intervention to speed them up just before the ramping begins. Otherwise it's just a glorified pre-teen mini-scooter.
    • God, the all terrain board is going to be obnoxious if it starts showing up on my favorite hiking trails.
    • The self cooling beer can seems just plain wasteful. I'd rather they filled the space that the cooling mech uses with more beer.
      I have this amazing device called a 'refrigerator' that cools anything I put in it, so I think self-cooling things a waste of space too.
      • I actually saw this neat contraption that would cool a can in seconds. You just put some ice in the tray, lay the can down over the ice, and turn a crank which turns the can over the ice. You wouldn't think it could do it, but the can would get ice cold in seconds. It was impressive because it was so low tech.

        Of course, real men don't drink beer from cans nor do they drink beer that needs to be that cold, so it was of little use to me. ;-)

        -matthew
    • I want one right now! That thing looks awesome, and dangerous =)

      I dunno. I was thinking it looked a little slow. I mean, they had the fast paced music and all and tried to make it seem "Xtreme" as if they were showing clips from the X-Games, but it was going like 7mph or something. And THEN they showed it in slow motion as if the board wasn't going slow enough already!

      -matthew
  • by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:47AM (#15415645) Homepage Journal
    >> Urinal gaming stations

    This is clearly a plot to improve our aim.
  • by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:48AM (#15415646) Homepage
    Set back into each urinal is a pressure-sensitive display, which activates an interactive game when used. This game includes sounds and images, bringing entertainment value to where you'd least expect. It will most likely will be installed in airports and schools "with the functional purpose of improving hygiene". This might be good to potty train kids but I don't see its function in a rest stop. "Wait Bob, before you pull off the semi I scored a 3 pissing on Pac Man" ...
    • by geobeck ( 924637 )
      It will most likely will be installed in airports and schools...

      Airports? Maybe. Schools? Are you kidding? With the way educational budgets are shrinking, the schools of the future will be lucky if they have anything more than a trench dug outside where the science lab used to be.

    • Re:Pot to piss in... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician ( 215283 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:12PM (#15416142)
      This might be good to potty train kids but I don't see its function in a rest stop.

      Knowing my kids, this would hardly be used to improve hygene. When they run out of proper game tokens, they will move on to other things to continue the game such as fingers. Somehow having the kids play games with the touch screen in a urnal does not seem like a way to improve hygene.
  • by Virak ( 897071 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:53AM (#15415666) Homepage
    I don't actually toast anything, but that'd be pretty damn nifty.
    • There's an antique kitchen appliance/gadget store in SF where I once saw an old (maybe from the late 40s) toaster that was transparent. The sides were made of glass. The bread wasn't put into a slit on top, but in one of the narrow sides. It had a moving belt that carried the toasting bread from one end of the toaster to the other end, and you could watch it toast as it moved. The toast came out on the other narrow side.
    • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:19AM (#15415741)
      You don't toast. It can't toast. A match made in heaven! Sharper Image will have distribution rights by the end of the year, for the overpaid executive in your life who has everything... except a toaster than can't actually toast bread.
      • I might have a use for it - preheating cheese. I like to make my sandwiches with lightly toasted bread and preheated cheese that melts when I stack up the stuff. However, at the moment preheating the cheese means putting it on the little brackets that are normally used for rolls. The problem with that is that if the cheese gets too soft it might fall off and right into the toaster. Ugh.
        This toaster sounds perfect. I remove one of the glass plates and put the thing on the side. Then I can use the remaining
  • by bobamu ( 943639 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:55AM (#15415672)
    all the joys of the varied alien landscapes of fps and maybe practical real world simulation, be it lacking the feeling of jumping/climbing and the feeling of freefall, plus of course the lack of weight.

    Maybe if they could make the "sphere" the actual projection screen, mount it on something mobile and maybe have some kind of force feedback bodysuit? Hmm, I feel a patent looming. :)

    And the heliodisplay is completely cool, a volume projecting version would be even cooler.
    • all the joys of the varied alien landscapes of fps and maybe practical real world simulation, be it lacking the feeling of jumping/climbing and the feeling of freefall, plus of course the lack of weight.

      I was thinking to myself about how it would make for a good WWII Online or Red Orchestra addition since those games don't use a great deal of jumping and falling (usually falls result in death anyways).
    • My first thought when I saw it was what happens if you stop walking suddenly? Big metal spheres don't like to stop rotating really quickly.

      Okay, that wasn't my first thought. My first thought was how much it looked like the hamster ball my gerbil used to have.
  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @09:56AM (#15415675) Homepage
    I could use something that doesn't need batteries, charges itself, and has a bright light that doesn't have to last very long. Such a thing would come very handy for messing with computers and such. It's quite a pain that when you just need a bit of extra light for a minute that the batteries have to be always dead.
    • you can get various flashlights with instant or close to it light without disposable batteries. Freeplay makes a windup light, which would probably be the best for your purposes-bright and right there- (they make good quality stuff, I have two of their clockwork spring radios), and you can get the "squeeze as you go" light (looks like handgrips) from various online sporting goods places (these would be the least expensive, I have seen them as low as five bucks, but you lose one hand for doing work as you ha
  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:16AM (#15415736)
    Every Top gadgets of the future feature must have at least one flying car.
  • by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:21AM (#15415752) Journal
    Holodeck. That said, I agree (with Scott Adam) that it will probably be the last invention to be ever invented...
  • Isn't that e-paper's big selling point, that it'd retain its image without having to constantly be refreshed?
  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#15415789)

    When you lose, I guess it would be too embarrassing to complain about the 'controller' being the problem.

  • by qodfathr ( 255387 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:38AM (#15415802)
    Back in college (Johns Hopkins) some of the urinals had little spinner games in them. Think roulette, but with little messages like 'You Win' or 'You Lose'. My favorite? 'Spin Again'.
  • Oh, god. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:44AM (#15415815)
    "This Origami DVD Player concept uses a fully-flexible display technology (e-paper) to ensure maximum portability. When not in use, the screen folds up neatly back into the case. From the image, it looks to sport integrated speakers as well. No word yet on if this concept will go into production."

    "As a product, it would target the business traveler who wants a convenient way to watch DVD movies."

    ...And a fucking nightmare for anyone that can't fold a map the right way.

  • by hentaidan ( 933903 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:44AM (#15415816) Homepage

    Anyone been to Karlsruhe in Germany lately? In one of the big stores they are celebrating the World Cup with penalty shots in the urinals.

    Sadly no German keeper though..

    http://www.wee-goal.com/ [wee-goal.com]

  • Should make an ebook which has a reasonable price, for a change. Now *that* would be a killer gadget. Any rumors of suchabeast?
    • It already exists. I remember Patrick Norton talking about one in TWiT podcast [www.twit.tv] a few months back.
    • by rbanffy ( 584143 )
      The main problem with e-Books is not the screen. It's the publishers that are so scared everyone will pirate their goods they boost their profit margins - setting the price for the electronic-only book at just about the same as the printed version thus ignoring the savings in production and transport - and cripple them with DRM that would piss off even a RIAA lawyer who had to use one.
      • eBooks...

        Microsoft Reader was one of the things that Microsoft was hyping to us Palm users as a killer feature of the Pocket PC over the Palm.

        The problem was that the DRM in Microsoft Reader was really annoying, and the user interface was trying to emulate a paper book on a tiny screen.

        And where there are DRM-protected and unprotected versions of the same books, the unprotected ones cost under $5 and the protected ones cost around $20. It makes the choice really easy...

        http://fictionwise.com/ [fictionwise.com]

        http://webscrip [webscriptions.net]
        • Thanks for the pointers. Nothing like a market to set things straight.

          Still, e-boook readers (with big screens) are pretty much dead. That's sad.

          I really wanted one that could double as a printer (attach to the computer - usb or wireless - print to it and, maybe later, attach to printer and produce hard-copy). Can't be that hard.
          • I don't want an eBook reader with a big screen.

            I want to separate the screen from my data. I just want the screen to be something between a web browser and an X terminal... but a browser model would work... that accesses my data in a repository that isn't tied to any screen.

            Let me stick the smarts in a keychain fob, or a credit-card PDA, or a full-sized PDA, or a smart card, something that I can pull out of... or disconnect from... the big eBook screen and use my cellphone, or a PDA-sized screen, or a full
  • Not entirely new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:48AM (#15415826)
    I had some stock in a company called Chill Can Corp circa 1965. It had a patent on a self-cooling drink can looking much like the one in TFA...it went nowhere.

    A cardboard forerunner of the urinal game, called Whizzers, was marketed in the 70s.

    rj
  • The future will slashdot itself!
  • I've seen the heliodisplay.

    It's not as great as people are lead to think. Ya, it's cool but it projects on to a self generated mist. Air waves disrupt it (like people walking by) and sunlight renders it hard to see.

    Super cool in concept but it's not ideal for all situations.
  • Great top 10 !!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alexandrecc ( 970052 )
    The last time I was so excited about technology was when I got my first Palm in 2000 ! So I need to share my hype with you.

    10) Citizen's Memory LCD

    "that retains the image even when turned off." and "Practical applications would include watches" That would be very useful for watches. It would always be 5 oclock PM friday as long as it is turned off. Practical.

    9) EyeMove PC

    Wow they found something even more annoying than cell phone in public transport.

    8) Scarpar - The All-Terrain Motorized Board

    Th

    • "that retains the image even when turned off." and "Practical applications would include watches" That would be very useful for watches. It would always be 5 oclock PM friday as long as it is turned off. Practical


      It would be useful for watches because you'd only have to provide power to the display once a minute (when you needed to update it). The benefit would be much longer battery life.

    • Re:Great top 10 !!! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by x-caiver ( 458687 )

      10) Citizen's Memory LCD
      "that retains the image even when turned off." and "Practical applications would include watches" That would be very useful for watches. It would always be 5 oclock PM friday as long as it is turned off. Practical.

      You're like the 10th person I've seen make a lame comment on entry 10. I can't take it anymore, and have to respond.

      Please think before typing. Right now an LCD watch display is almost always on and updating. Updating many many times per second. Assume, for the sake

    • by bloggins02 ( 468782 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @03:25PM (#15416910)
      I dream since I am 5 years old of listening to a DVD on a rabbit.

      This is, by far, the most surreal sentence I have ever read.
  • From the article:

    No word yet on pricing and availability.

    I've seen these in the catalogs for REI, LL Bean, Campmor and a few other vendors. They cost $10-20. I don't see them in the online stores--- just the paper catalogs. I wonder if supply of these is limited.
  • It's equipped with sensors to measure temperature, acidity, salinity, and viscosity.

    I've had a gadget that does this for about 22 years.

    I call it the tounge (patent pending)

  • An LCD display that needs power only when the image is changes is old.
    Check out Kent Displays [kentdisplays.com]. It was spun off in 1993 from a project at Kent State University.
    I wonder why it never took off.
  • My thoughts...

    10. Semi-permanent LCD. Sounds like e-paper / e-ink [eink.com] (or here [gizmodo.com]) to me.

    9. Eye-move pc. All the projectors I've seen get pretty toasty, which translates to power usage. In a battery powered device this small (what kind of batteries?), I would think the projected display would be either too small or too dim for use by actual humans for any length of time. This feels like one of those ideas that's waiting for a miraculous invention (by someone else) to appear.

    8. Flash required. The future

    • Oh great. Another highly-specialized kitchen appliance taking up already limited counter space, and consuming another outlet.

      Followed by:

      All I really need is [...] my expresso [sic] setup.

      Irony. It's what's for breakfast.

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.

Working...